Innovative Projects to Support Environmental Sustainability Highlight India Peace Conference

Eric Olsen
April 12, 2023

Youth ‘Sustainathon’ at Manav Rachna University Opens Three-Day Global Peace Leadership Conference in New Delhi

“The greatest threat to the planet is the belief that someone else will save it,” observed Dr. Prashant Bhalla, quoting the British explorer and environmentalist Robert Swan. The first person ever to walk to both of the earth’s poles, Swan added that India “holds the key” to saving the planet in the next half-century.

Dr. Prashant Bhalla

Dr. Prashant Bhalla, President of Educational Institutions at Manav Rachna University

Dr. Bhalla, President of Educational Institutions at Manav Rachna University, welcomed students and international guests on April 11 to the Youth Sustainathon: Leap Hubs Challenge Inauguration at Manav Rachna University. Leap Hubs is a Leadership and Entrepreneurship program piloted in Kenya by the Global Peace Foundation to provide guidance for highly motivated students to learn how to start a business or set up a social enterprise. The Sustainathon opened a three-day Global Peace Leadership Conference hosted in New Delhi by the Global Peace Foundation.

Bringing focus to environmental sustainability and entrepreneurship, Dr. Bhalla said the inaugural assembly and Sustainathon sought “to take a step forward for our own planet and sustainable future and for generations to come by encouraging youth to contribute their innovative ideas.”

Dr Markendey Rai

Dr Markendey Rai, Chairman of Global Peace Foundation India

Students from the New Delhi regions and across the country were given the opportunity to showcase their projects to promote environmental sustainability. “The Goal is not just to discuss but come up with practical and solutions that we can implement in our daily lives,” Dr. Bhalla said. “Sustainability is not just about protecting the environment but also about creating a just and equitable world.”

Dr Markendey Rai, Chairman of Global Peace Foundation India and Senior Advisor of the United Nations Human Settlements Programme, praised the visionary leadership of GPF chairman Dr. Hyun Jin Moon, and particularly the guiding vision of One Family under God, which he said “motivated me to join Global Peace Foundation” after meeting Dr. Moon in 2008. As India is celebrating 75 years of independence and is hosting the G20, “this seemed like the right moment to extend an invitation, which he has honored today.”

Vision and dream

Addressing primarily students and visiting youth, Dr. Moon said that a vision that can transcend the divides of race, class, religion, and ethnicity is more necessary today than ever. It is the dreamers, the great men and women of history, such as Mahatma Gandhi, that change the world, he said.

“Who would believe that a grassroots movement based upon nonviolence and rooted in high principles could bring down an empire where the sun never set, and would then come to terms with the very principles and values that all people have sovereignty over our individual self, our families, and our nation.

“Gandhi was also inspired by a nation called Korea that wrote a declaration of independence in 1919 that was unlike any other. Instead of listing grievances, the declaration was based on high ideals, looking inward, and even appealing to work with their oppressors to build peace in the region and in the world and become an inspiration for all humankind. There were those here in India who took note, adopting the principle of nonviolence.

Dr. Hyun Jin P. Moon

Dr. Hyun Jin P. Moon addresses students at Manav Rachna University

“The most powerful individuals who make the greatest impact are those who recognize the importance of character and first fix themselves before they fix the world,” Dr. Moon told the assembled youth.

The Global Peace Leadership Conference 2023 Indo Pacific, “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam: Vision for Advancing Human Consciousness and Peace” वसुधैव कुटुम्बकम्, convened in New Delhi on April 12-13. Learn more about the conference, with featured tracks on Youth Empowerment, Transforming Education, Values-based Peacebuilding, and Environmental Conservation.

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